Social networking is dead

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I'm losing Google+. But I don't want to lose you. Please tell me where I can follow you in the comments. And please follow me by signing up for my email newsletter and also subscribing to my blog's RSS feed, if you use RSS. Or just visit this blog — and please comment like you would on Google+!

(Do YOU have a blog? Please tell us how to find it in the comments.)

The best thing about Google+ has always been its ability to attract great users. Right from the start, the unlimited post size, user-moderation policy and comment centrism favored substantive posting and commenting and the people who want to have real conversations.

Substance is why the tech press always hated Google+. The last thing tech journalists want is to deal with knowledgeable readers who make cogent arguments about their work.

Where you gonna have a good conversations now?

Twitter? Impossible. 280 characters is barely enough for a flippant comment, let alone a real comment. And comment threads are super annoying. Plus, because you can't delete other users' comments when they comment on your tweet, Twitter is a playground for trolls, haters, bots and wankers.

Facebook? No. Nobody wants real conversations on Facebook. And Facebook is the least trustworthy social company. I don't recommend committing any time or effort to Facebook.

Instagram? Yeah, right.

Some third-party social startup? These are too much like Google+: Too few people use them, the users that are there don't engage and these sites are likely to vanish after you've invested huge chunks of your life to posting there.

No, the best social site is no social site.

Social is dead.

As I wrote in this post, which was about Leo Laporte deleting his social accounts and retreating into his own blog, Leo wisely exited from the "manipulative, privacy-invading aspects of social media. And for Twitter in particular, removing the 'daily spew of outrage and bile' from his life. Because, really, who needs it?"

I've always used Google+ as a blog. Now I'll use my blog as a blog.

The truth is that Google had ruined Google+ long ago and now it's bad, mostly abandoned by Google and mostly abandoned by users.

But which are the "good" social networks? There aren't any. Social is all bad.

Meanwhile, the open, user-owned media are good. Blogs and podcasts are good. RSS is good. Email is good.

I've made the argument before that email is the best social network. You can and will always be able to "DM" me via email. Please add mike@elgan.com to your address book and drop me a line any time. In fact, please send me your email address so I can add you.

I'll still appear to be on various social sites. But after they've been using me for years, now I'm using them. I'm going to use Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to drive traffic to elgan.com, and not engage much there.

If you still use any of these social networks, you can follow me there. These will all occasionally lead you back to my blog where I do the real posting.

Google used a security lapse as their excuse for shutting down Google+. But they've been looking for a way out for years.

Everyone is either lamenting or celebrating the death of Google's social network.

In truth, social networking itself is dead or dying.

Now it's clear why: When everyone gathers in a single place, that place becomes an irresistible opportunity for the company that owns the network to squeeze every drop of value from users by manipulating them with algorithms, stealing and monetizing their private data — and also an irresistible target for disinformation propagandists, trolls, bots, haters, spammers and jerks of every variety.

Social is dead.